GCIS connects government messages to the people

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) has been able to effectively communicate government’s interventions on drought and social grants to the citizens.

The Minister said this when the GCIS presented its audience segmentation model in relation to the public awareness plans on the social grants and national water crisis.

The Minister said the responsibility of the GCIS is to coordinate the government communication system to ensure that there is coherence with regards to information that gets disseminated, as well as the messaging by government.

The GCIS has a responsibility to provide timeous data on developments that are happening in the media space.

On the two areas that the committee has requested GCIS to come and speak on, one can briefly indicate that the intentions on both the drought and the [water crisis] issue was to ensure that we are able to project government’s coordinated efforts in resolving the challenges as well as inspiring hope in ordinary citizens on what is being done, she said.

The Minister said while the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) was the lead department on the issue of the drought through the Inter-Ministerial Committee dealing with national disaster management, GCIS played a role in coordinating communications on the matter.

The second area [was] around the payment of social grants. What we have been able to do as GCIS is to ensure that through the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Comprehensive Social Security that was established by Cabinet, we are able to help in packaging information, including dealing with the management of information that comes from the processes that are before the Constitutional Court, she said.

The Minister said, however, that while rolling out interventions remains a priority, there is a need for affected departments to reprioritise resources in order to help the GCIS to effectively meet its communication objectives in relation to the drought and social grants issues.

The second one is about reprioritising the resources that have already been allocated. The third one is to then identify emergencies that can then be put in place to circumvent any possibility of loss of life impact on the hygiene as well as impact on the economy.

The last issue on the issue of finance that we wish to raise is that there has been estimates that have been put around communications that overall there will be a need for an additional R19.9 million that will need to be used to raise awareness and to provide the relevant information on time and to the affected sectors because you have got the media. You have the community, you have households and you have got the agricultural sector and therefore, you need to package messages differently.

Study: citizens appreciate government services

GCIS Acting Deputy Director-General for Content Processing and Dissemination Tasneem Carrim, said the GCIS developed a government segmentation model that helps communicators to better understand its citizens and to create a greater alignment between citizen needs and government services and messages.

The model assesses different types of citizens. This includes rooted realists, which is 12.8 million people who largely reside in rural areas, city seekers, which is 11.3 million citizens that are split equally in urban and metro areas, among others.

She said the rooted realists indicated that they are rooted and content with where they are and appreciate government services � especially social grants � while they are generally concerned about infrastructure development and job creation.

In communicating the drought interventions, Carrim said the media channels to reach this category of residents was through Ukhozi FM (26%), Umhlobo Wenene (17%) and Thobela (15%), while for TV, 82% were reached through SABC 1, 68% through SABC 2 and 62% through ETV.

She said 78% of the population was reached through outdoor media, 35% through newspapers, 31% via the internet and 24% through community radio.

She said the Minister of Cogta, for example, did an interview on GCIS radio which was broadcast to 65 community radio stations at once.

Carrim said city seekers are optimistic and that they appreciate social grants but believe in a better life through decent work.

This group is faced with financial distress, a lack of opportunities and poor education challenges, while they are concerned with job creation, crime and corruption.

She said 82% were reached via SABC1, 76% through SABC2 and 71% through eTV.

Metro FM (25%), Ukhozi (22%) and Umhlobo Wenene (16%) and Lesedi (16%) were the radio platforms used to reach them.

Some 87% of the population were reached via outdoor media, 48% through newspapers, 44% via the internet and 27% on community radio.

Source: South African Government News Agency